Book: Tourmaline

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Tourmaline: A Novel

Author: Joanna Scott
Publisher: Little, Brown
In the mid-1950s, Murray Murdoch transports his wife and four young sons to Elba, an island off the northwest coast of Italy, in a desperate attempt to escape the embarrassment of his financial failures in America. Seduced by the wealth promised in the island’s surfeit of semi-precious tourmaline, Murray struggles to establish a homestead and a fortune. But the allure of one of Elba’s other treasures—a bewitching local girl named Adriana Nardi—puts his quest into a tailspin. When Adriana mysteriously disappears one night, Elbans start having violent dreams in which Murray is her murderer.

The suspicion cast upon Murray is fueled by the accusations of Adriana’s mentor, an English historian named Francis Cape, and in the months that follow, the growing scandal upends the island and the Murdochs. Claire Murdoch, weary of her husband’s reckless antics, retreats from the world. Oliver Murdoch and his three brothers, left to govern themselves, wander hills and cliffs, creating a fantastical world with dangers as real as those that threaten their parents. What was meant to be a new start becomes yet another self-orchestrated disaster, and Elba becomes for Murray what it was for Napoleon before him—a place of exile.

Almost half a century later, Oliver returns to the lush landscape that inspired the magical daydreams of his childhood and sets out to reconstruct the events that nearly ruined his father.

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